The variety of food that's available in Madrid has widened as the city has progressively become less provincial and more cosmopolitan and locals have developed an appreciation for global flavors and a more sophisticated dining experience. As a result, although you'll still find inexpensive traditional hangouts (usually with very affordable fixed-price lunch menus), there are also plenty of international
offerings, especially in the more vibrant neighborhoods, and in a batch of high-end restaurants run by star chefs who have been inspired by the greatly innovative cuisine first launched here by Ferran Adrià.
Madrileños tend to eat their meals even later than people in other parts of Spain, and that's saying something. Restaurants open for lunch at 1:30 and fill up by 3. Dinnertime begins at 9, but reservations for 11 are common, and meals can be lengthy—up to three hours. If you face hunger meltdown several hours before Madrid dinner, make the most of the early-evening tapas hour.
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